Today’s Pickup: Government conducts platooning test

Good day,

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a three-truck platooning test in Centreville, VA, last week, along I-66. The test, using Volvo Trucks, was designed to the effectiveness of autonomous and vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies.  

“The future of innovative new technology to help our drivers navigate the road more safely is so full of promise; it’s a future where vehicles increasingly help drivers avoid crashes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “As technology advances, safety is a primary concern of the Department, but the benefits of these driving technologies extend beyond safety, including productivity and efficiency on our roads.”

FHWA’s Exploratory Advance Research program has been studying Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) technology. CACC adds vehicle-to-vehicle communications to the adaptive cruise control capability now available in new vehicles. This connectivity allows trucks to operate more smoothly as a unit, reducing and controlling the gaps between vehicles, the agency said.

“These new technologies have the ability to increase capacity on our highways and make freight transportation more efficient,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson. “With innovations like these, we can get more out of the highway system we already have, relieve traffic congestion and reduce costs to the freight industry.”

The Virginia test had drivers in all three vehicles, although the following vehicle drivers did not actively brake the vehicles.

Did you know?

Country singer Steve Moakler wrote and sang a song about the new Mack Trucks Anthem tractor. The song, entitled “Born Ready,” is an anthem to the Anthem, but it is also a story of a truck driver hoping to get home to his daughter.  


“’Born Ready’ is about getting the job done, no matter how big the challenge. It pays homage to the professional truck drivers out there every day keeping America moving. My grandfather owned a concrete trucking company running Mack trucks, so I’ve always had a special affection for the brand. ‘Born Ready” celebrates the value of hard work, commemorates my grandfather, and connects it all to Mack Trucks, which was a significant part of his life.”

Steve Moakler, singer

In other news:

Meal, rest break amendment on hold

A bill to create national uniformity in meal and rest break rules for truck drivers that Republicans attached to an aviation funding bill is now on hold as the Senate considers a short-term aviation bill. (Transport Topics)

Classic Indian turns to electricity

That classic Indian vehicle, the rickshaw, will soon have a new mode of power as Indian plans to introduce 100,000 electric-powered riskshaws to its city streets. (The Economic Times)

Medium-duty trucks in demand

Sales of Class 4-7 medium-duty trucks increased 21.8% in August according to data. (Transport Topics)

Owner-operators plan ELD protest

Two separate groups are trying to rally owner-operators and stage an ELD protest in Washington, DC, on Oct. 3. (Overdrive)

Love’s acquires Speedco

Love’s Travel Stops has acquired Speedco, a national provider of service locations offering quick lube and inspection services, from Bridgestone Americas. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Final Thoughts

Following the devastation that was caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the last thing anyone wants to hear about is another hurricane. But Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria bear watching as both are on paths to impact the U.S. East Coast in some way in the days ahead.   

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.